Friday 4th May 2018 - Jago
Before the Big Day, there is one more excuse to party – the Jago night. This is traditionally held on the night before the wedding day but we have opted to keep a day in between to recover!
We will both have our own Jago parties. Traditionally, relatives of Lucky’s or Rupy’s would have gone around their village on the night before the wedding day with pots on their head that were decorated with oil candles, singing and dancing as an open invitation to attend the wedding. Centuries ago, invitations were not sent to invite people to weddings.
The candles were used for light as this is before electricity was established! The traditional folk song is called “Jago” – which literally means ‘wake up’, so they would encourage people to wake-up and join in the festivities. Now, Jago nights are considered an opportunity to be creative. The friends and siblings of Lucky or Rupy will often dress up in traditional Punjabi clothing or comical outfits.
The aim of the night is to make noise and party, so not only will Jago be carried (pots decorated with lights), decorated sticks (Jago sticks) will be banged on the floor. The maternal and paternal families will often sing mischievous folk songs to each other.
Saturday 5th May 2018 – Rest Day
A day to recover before the ceremonies and celebrations continue!
Sunday 6th May 2018 - Wedding
Now, families from both sides will meet at the Gurdwara (temple). Please see more details of this event below.
Milni and reception of Barat
The Barat (Lucky’s family) is greeted at the Gurdwara by Rupy’s family. At this point, Rupy is not present until the main ceremony, to keep up the anticipation to see her.
Both families will congregate in a large area, usually outside the Gurdwara for the Milni (meeting) – the formal introduction of key relatives from both families. Before the Milni begins, an ‘ardaas’ (prayer) is carried out to mark the auspicious and happy occasion.
The priest or a selected member from each family will then call the names of corresponding relations from each side, beginning with the eldest, which would be Lucky and Rupy’s grandfathers. They meet in the middle of the surrounding congregation, put a haar (garland) on each other, hug and pose for a photo. It’s become commonplace for each side to compete by trying to pick each other up when they hug as a playful gesture!
Then the Barat are invited into the Gurdwara for breakfast.
The ladies Milni will take place after the men's. Similarly, the corresponding relations from each side will meet in the middle but exchange Thoothiyan (half coconuts filled with dry fruit).
The Anand Karaj, meaning ‘blissful union’, is the Sikh marriage ceremony. This takes place in the Gurdwara darbar (main room). Relatives from both sides will pay their respects to the Guru Granth Sahib (holy book) and take a seat in the darbar.
When Lucky walks in, he will bow down to pay respect. He then takes a seat with his sarwalla (best man) and close family. At this time, priests are reading shabd (hymns).
Lucky’s sisters will remove the kalgi (turban pin).
Just before Rupy is brought into the darbar, Lucky is asked to sit in front of the Guru Granth Sahib. Before Rupy comes in, her bridesmaids will enter followed my Rupy being escorted by her immediate family.
She will enter with a ramalla (decorative cloth), which she offers to the Guru Granth Sahib, bows down and sits next to Lucky. Her close relatives, such as her sisters and sister-in-laws will sit behind her for support. Likewise, Lucky’s sisters or other close relatives will sit near him for support.
Rupy’s father is prompted to do the kanyadaan, or palla rasam, which is symbolic of the father ‘giving away’ his daughter. He will tie the palla, which Lucky is wearing, to Rupy who will hold it.
Traditionally, the bride’s brothers will then stand around the altar for the laavan (marriage hymns). Four laavan are conducted, which take Lucky and Rupy through the stages of the journey that lead to a union with God and union of a husband and wife. These are both teachings and vows that they take to seal their marriage union.
The Priest will recite a hymn for each laav, after which Lucky and Rupy will bow down, and start walking around the altar (where the Guru Granth Sahib is) with Lucky leading. The palla is linking them both and as they take a journey around the altar. Rupy’s brothers take it in turns to hold her and guide her around. This is symbolic of brothers being protectors - but also practical to prevent a nervous bride from fainting!
The meaning behind each laav could be summarised as follows (however, some translation is down to interpretation so this is an estimated interpretation):
1.The first verse of Laavan is about letting go of the past and embarking on a new beginning. It stresses that the centre of the marriage is spiritual and that the success of the marriage rests on the couple having a daily spiritual practice.
2.The second verse states that the Guru is the centre of the marriage and that such a marriage is filled with joy.
3.The third verse gives the understanding that both love and liberation lie within the congregation; being amongst those who get together for worship. It is through this that we realise our destiny.
4.The fourth verse is the final stage which relates to Sahaj Avastha (stage of harmony) and the fulfilment of the goal of life. It is the stage of union when married life is completely blended with love for God. This is the stage when the couple becomes one Soul in two bodies.
Lucky leading does not imply he is in control or any superior. He leads to symbolise his role as the carer and provider of his wife. Also, Lucky and Rupy are equally distant from the Guru Granth Sahib this way by taking circular journeys around the altar.
After Lucky and Rupy complete each laav, they take a seat and the priest recites the next hymn for the corresponding laav. After the fourth laav, a hymn is recited to mark the marital union. A final ardaas is performed by the priest with the entire congregation including the wedding couple.
This concludes the Sikh marriage. The registry marriage will also take place at the temple too, either before the start of the Anand Karaj, or after the Laavan.
This is the end of the formal wedding customs. Lucky’s mother will then put a haar around the couple, gives them money for blessing and feed them barfi (Indian sweets). Rupy’s parents will follow suit. The rest of the congregation will take it in turns to give them sagan (money as blessing).
For this traditional wedding, the lunch is being served at the temple, sagan (blessing) is given to the newlywed couple straight after the Anand Karaj. This involves guests taking it in turns to bless the couple by giving money. This isn’t customary and is a traditional way, for those who wish, to give their blessings.
At this point in the day, it’s time to eat!
Rupy’s family will provide Lucky’s family with the wedding lunch. This is because the wedding was performed in the hometown or village of Rupy, thus Lucky’s family are, in effect, the guests.
After you have eaten, this is when you are welcome to depart. Please do relax from the morning ceremony and prepare for all the fun and celebrations of the Reception party tomorrow!
After the Lunch, only close relatives and friends from both families will gather at Rupy’s paternal home for the dholi, which is when Rupy departs to her new home. Lucky’s mother doesn’t attend so she can prepare for the newlyweds’ arrival!
Rupy’s sisters take this opportunity to tease their soon-to-be brother-in-law. Lucky has to try to put money (it could be as little as a penny!) into a glass of water held by Rupy’s sisters at the entrance of the house. But the sisters will resist and aim to get as much money as possible. A red ribbon will be held by the sisters, which Lucky will cut to enter. As soon as money is placed in the glass, Rupy’s family must let Lucky in. This is a relatively new custom that has been adopted. Lucky’s relatives will be on hand to support his entrance while mischievous banter and pranks are inevitable!
Lucky and Rupy are seated together. Rupy’s parents usually give a gift to both. Then they stand and rice is held in a bowl in front of Rupy. She scoops handfuls of it and throws it behind her and in each corner of the room.This symbolises her declaration that she is leaving her paternal home. The couple are then walked to the car and each relative takes it in turns to bid farewell.
As Lucky’s car departs, Rupy’s brothers will push it for a little distance. Traditionally, Rupy would be carried in a palanquin, which her brothers would carry to Lucky’s house.
As the wedding car departs, Lucky’s father throws money (usually small change) ahead of the car. In India, this money is picked up by poor children who are excited and happy at the prospect of getting money. Their happiness is considered to bring good luck and well wishes to the newlyweds.
When they arrive to Lucky’s house, Lucky’s mother is waiting to greet her daughter-in-law and son. She stands in the doorway with a garvi (small pot or glass) half-filled with water, half milk. She blesses the couple before they enter by holding the garvi around their heads and trying to drink it. Lucky will playfully try to stop his mother from drinking it. On the seventh attempt, he lets her drink it. This mischievousness symbolises the happiness in the wedding house at the arrival of a new family member.
The mother then pours a little oil on either side of the door. The paani vaar is also a means of blessing the couple and removing any evil eye before they enter the home together. They are then sat together in the house and told to share a glass of milk. This is because sharing food or drink is considered to enhance love in a relationship!
Lucky’s mother will welcome her daughter-in-law with a gift, which is often jewellery that is passed down in the family. Then, many families will celebrate further by partying into the early hours of the night!
This will be a celebratory event for everyone to come together to congratulate and celebrate Lucky and Rupy’s wedding.
Be dressed to impress and we politely ask that you please arrive promptly at 3pm!